I am in my office today #halo at HALO in Burlington, MA, and there is an amazing thing going on. We have 9 or 10 people in today (first time in maybe 30 months) and I can’t get anything done! However this is not just a good thing but a great thing! People are interacting, laughing and collaborating. It is like 2019 all over again and wow do we need this.

I miss you and your face! All of you! Today was just an amazing wake-up call to all of us. A smile is contagious and human interaction is critical. Here is the rub, when we are together we smile, we laugh and we grow! So why then do we accept video conferences join on, log in and shut our videos off? The only real excuse that I can understand is that you don’t have a camera on your computer (does that even exist anymore?). I MISS YOUR FACE! Even more importantly the value of a smile is so great, it tells a story, so do other expressions and we need to tell these stories.

Here is my pledge and challenge, if you cant be there is person, allow your camera to capture you and allow yourself to see others. Not only is it not a scary thing it is a needed thing.

Problem Solving: REMOVE the blame and passion!

Most problems tend to cripple us, we can’t always accept the problem and instead we choose to point blame. We are frustrated with the issue and we want our pound of flesh before we want a resolution. We become passionate about “winning”. It then becomes an argument, and then escalates beyond the proportion of the problem! OH, and the problem is not fixed yet!! OH, and no one wants to find a solution because we become bullies regardless of who is to blame! Does not sound like a win! And you most likely don’t feel good.

I suggest we take a different path:

  1. Accept that mistakes happen, and there are many parties that can be at fault.
  2. Solve the problem with NO blame or passion – just simply solve it.
  3. Now we are calm.
  4. Figure out (calmly) what happened and how to avoid it in the future.
  5. Walk away with no stress, problem solved!

It is not always an easy process, but try it in all areas of your life, I bet you will see that it works

Eugene and Doris

So, all of a sudden,  I have pet ducks. They just showed up one day,  so I fed them. The next day they came back in the morning, and so I fed them, then again at dinner, and I fed them. And I named them. I did not really think about the names, I just picked Eugene and Doris. 6 weeks later they are still showing up 3 times a day and when they see us, they (run) waddle to within a foot of us.

I do not know a lot about ducks beyond a 3rd grade program about how to tell a male from a female. Green head is male, a mallard. I also had no intention to have these new pets. But I do.

It really seems that they are in charge of this relationship and I am OK with it. They come when they want food or to hang out, and then they leave when they are done. I do get concerned when one shows up without the other. Actually, at this point, really concerned. We have become invested. I think they have too!!

I really have no idea where my relationship with Doris and Eugene is going, but I am enjoying the experience. I did not search for this, it just happened. It is amazing when you are open to new things and experiences, they just appear. I think we always need to keep our eyes wide open and be ready to embrace new things to see where they take us.

If you see them in my yard, say HI! They like most breads, plain and sesame bagels, bird seed, and corn flakes.

Time to Get Out (of yourself)! The power of mentor-ship

I learned a long time ago that I don’t know it all and never will. None of us do. I also learned that what I do know (actually what we all know) should be shared. What is the use of experience or knowledge if it is not shared.

I had an amazing experience about a year ago. I was part of an industry mentoring program run by #promokitchen. I was matched up with a mentee within the promo world who I would not have had contact with if it were not for the PK connection. What made it amazing is that it opened my eyes to their world, their way of thinking and their business challenges. Challenges that are different than mine and some that are the same. Wow did I learn a lot!

I joined the mentor program, and am involved with others, because I truly believe we should all give of ourselves. The very exciting and unexpected gift from all mentoring is what you get back. It goes way beyond what you think.

So, Happy Spring (almost) – do something new – Get Outside (of yourself)

Are you giving back?

There are so many layers to this question, and after the year we had, I hope that your answer is “yes”.

“Are you giving back?” is a loaded question. I think we all are in some way, so the question is, are you intentionally giving back? Is it a way of life? How do we make it a way of life? If you intentionally give back every day it transforms from intentional to unintentional, habit forming, and becomes a part of you, often when that happens, we look for the next way to give back. No one is immune from this, the positive exponential growth from this practice just can not be measured.

The issue, is not what to give or how to give but to just give something. Lets make it simple; there are people who do not have what you have, regardless of who you are.

Talent, money, success, experience, family, shelter, material things, food, clothing, health, toys, time, compassion, strength etc.

I personally do not think that there is anyone who can not give something. Start with a random kind hello to someone (it used to be a random smile, but our smile is covered now)

My mission today is to make sure I give something to someone in need. My first action is sharing my words here in hopes that someone else shares too.

Healthy Conversations

I was on the phone today with a vendor partner (Hi Melissa). We were experiencing some minor issues, issues that were not damaging to our relationship, but could be if they escalated. I really like the vendor and they to great work, this was abnormal for them, so we talked – we had a Healthy Conversation.

During the call we all realized how grateful we were that we could address issues proactively and get in front of them. It was comforting. I care about our relationship and the people I work with – I want to address issues when they are still small so they stay that way.

It is really the same in my ‘real’ and not ‘work’ life. Too often we ignore the little things but we continue to hold on to them and then they become big things. It is just not the way I want to go through this journey. I do not want small issues to pile up and become unmanageable issues.

We have been living through a very challenging time and are faced with real challenges everyday. It is a good day when I do not make any more challenges for myself or others. Like the saying goes – “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

So have those Healthy Conversations – you will be happy you did.

Stay Safe

I would rather be like leather than glass

Glass is solid, it is clean and clear and has a sense of beauty, but take a 12 x 12 sheet of glass and smash it (not really – figuratively) and it is broken never the same and likely lost all of its physical values. Our reaction is to then stress on the broken glass – clean it up so it does not do any more damage. “Clear the room, everyone out!” – “Get your shoes on!” – “Where are the animals? don’t let them in the kitchen!”

When glass breaks we panic. It never breaks the same way and we never react the same way. Glass is so fragile that almost anything can destroy it, and we will always react with anxiety and excitement.

By contrast, leather is soft, tough and resilient. Take that same 12 x 12 piece of leather and smash it 100 times and it absorbs the blow, it adapts and softens. The surprise ‘smashing’ does not bother it. In turn we do not panic and make everyone around us panic.

On a daily basis we have curves thrown at us, many that could create panic. We are not in control of the obstacles that come our way. We are in control of how we absorb the curves. Do you panic or do you react and get better at taking the blows?

Professionally I rely upon many people to get my job done and ‘things’ happen. Many out of our control. If I panic, they just get worse. If I absorb it, react, learn and proceed it gets better.

A mentor I had early in my career used to have these letters on her desk


Stop – Think – Don’t – React – Think – React it was explained this way:

When there is an obstacle you are facing STOP (don’t do anything) THINK (what are the options?) DON’T REACT (often the first reaction is the panic reaction and not always the best one) THINK (again) REACT

Make sense?

Be like leather and get stronger daily

So I Have Been Blogging For a Year Now!

Just putting it out there – It has been a bit more than a year since I started sharing my thoughts, ideas, rants and hopes with the world, or at least with the few dozen (maybe 100) who read them.

I started on this journey as an exploration of what motivates me, and to share it. What is important to me, and to share it. What I (think) I am about and, to share it. Hoping it does the same for one or more of you. Some of you have shared it too!

A year in, and I am still exploring, which we all should be doing. I am not trying to reinvent myself as much as I am making sure as the world around us reinvents itself, which it has been in 2020, I am not only adapting to the change but I am staying authentic to who I am.

I have some general ideas of how I can make sure I am staying true and they are challenged everyday.

I try to focus on what I can control.

I try not to control much.

I work to recover from adversity – personal and professional.

I am true to my word (I hope)

There are plenty of other bullet points of how I stay true to myself, many I have not figured out yet. I think I will keep this up for another year to see what they are.

What I think we all need to do is to share our goals with each other, be vulnerable about your thoughts, lets learn and grow together.

What I know is that I don’t know who I am yet and I am a work in progress.

Wearing a mask. This is not about what you think it is about.

AKA: My Mask Post – not about physical PPE but about mental PPE

I recently listened to an podcast in which an old friend spoke of how she felt during middle school and high school years, and how she was able to blossom once she felt ‘recognized’ and found her people. I am one of those people she found and recognized her. I do not think she knows she helped me as much as I may have helped her. I think that as much was done for me as was done for her. I too was recognized and found my people. It helped me to shed my mask. This was possibly the first time I found my authentic self and luckily it was a planned accident.

Today some 40 years later, I do not wear a mask, (well today in pandemic 2020 I do), however the figurative mask is gone. I do play different roles through my day and and often have to pivot from role to role in a second. Often stepping into different shoes for each role. I happen to have a huge shoe collection). There is a big difference though in my actions of today vs. 40 years ago.

Today, I get to do this with authenticity. I have figured out who I am and I try to stay consistent to myself. It is not easy but I do it. I need to thank Alisa Cohn for her podcast interview for helping me to remember that we all are a bit lost.

Here is the important part, I know that I am still growing and evolving, I know that we all still have work to do on ourselves and I know that my mask still is in my back pocket. I just do not need to put it on as much.

I like knowing that I need to still grow and I like knowing that I have the comfort that I still can wear my mask. The big benefit is that I can learn from every experience I have to grow a bit more. I am striving to be my authentic self. It is not easy.

So, what is the take away of my rambling?

  1. Try to figure out when you learned ‘who’ you are and follow your own growth.
  2. Do not shed who you were, even if you did not like yourself, it is part of what made you.
  3. Are you authentic every day?
  4. Are you (am I?) willing to grow and change?
  5. Be kind to others along the way.
  6. Recognize that we are always growing and may, at times, need our masks. However, also recognize when you need it and learn from it.
  7. Get comfortable being uncomfortable it is how we grow.
  8. And WEAR YOUR FACE MASK! It is 2020 and you need it to take care of others around you.